Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Maker Talks About Game’s Popularity

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe has proven to be an absolute behemoth in the racing game genre, being the best-selling Nintendo Switch game to date, despite being a modified version of the excellent Wii U game Mario Kart 8. Nikkei sat down with the game’s producer, Kosuke Yabuki, to chat about what he thinks makes the game and the franchise such a beloved series. You can read his thoughts on what he thinks Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is so popular with Nintendo Switch owners.

Do you expect this game to become an all-time hit, selling over 40 million copies?

We didn’t, but in hindsight, Mario Kart 8 Deluxe was perfect for the Switch. You can play the console anywhere, and you can even split the controller in two, so it’s easy to pick up and play with a nearby sibling or friend. Five years after the game’s release, that appeal hasn’t faded.

What do you think is the reason for the popularity of the Mario Kart series?

Generally, you don’t try to hinder your opponents in racing games, but in Mario Kart, you throw seashells at them during the race and try to make them slip on banana peels. These unique tactics are at the heart of Mario Kart’s appeal.

It’s both an accessible deep game. Some people only play the game for Christmas or New Years, while others try to improve their skills every day. We always pay attention to balancing the experience of both types of players.

How did you keep accessibility in mind when developing Mario Kart 8 Deluxe?

We hope this game will be a fun experience for everyone. Losing can be frustrating, but a lot can happen during a game that makes players laugh or want to play another round. Players are expected to experience emotions beyond the outcome of the game. We designed the game in such a way that unimaginable things like slipping a banana before the finish line happened one after the other.

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